I was born a blonde. Actually, I was born without any hair so essentially, I am now back to my roots! My baby picture proves my mother’s story that when I did get hair I started as a blonde! Then the DNA pool took over and by the time I was four, my hair had turned as dark as midnight! But there is a precedent for my being a blonde, even if it was only for a few short years!!
Now, for an interim at least, I have returned to my blonde roots. Before I started chemo, I was urged during my chemo class to go and get a wig before my hair fell out so I could match my current hair color. As you know, I was gray, so I thought that would be the natural choice for my wig color. Besides, I had been in some sort of graying process since my late 30s so I never considered another color. Being gray was part of my identity. I found my first gray hair when I was 32 and pregnant with my second baby. I still remember the morning I woke to find that stubborn gray hair sticking straight out of the front of my hairline!! I contemplated pulling it but then I remembered those old wives’ tales that if you pull a gray hair, two will come back so I did my best to tame it! Now I know the truth; more gray hairs will keep coming regardless of whether you pull them or leave them alone. They have friends! But enough about my graying process and back to the wig.
Getting a wig is not an easy process nor is it without emotional turmoil. I was skeptical of the ins and outs of wearing a wig because of my mother’s experience wearing one after her hair thinned. She always felt it was too tight. Perhaps that was her excuse because one of the first times she wore it in public she was ridiculed so she never had the confidence to wear it much after that. I was worried that it might be too loose and fall off and expose my baldness. I worried that the wig would look, well, bad. But those worries were unfounded. The worse that has happened is that when my head itches, there is not a good way to scratch. On the top, the “cap” is woven in a way that I can’t stick my finger through. The sides and back are woven differently and I can actually get a finger in several places for scratching. And after a good scratch, I must readjust the wig to keep it in the right place! But that is really all the issues thus far.
In keeping with the advice I had been given, I told my consultant that I wanted a gray wig. She immediately made a face and that should have been my clue that gray might not be the best color. But I was in such a state I missed that clue. After telling her I wanted straight hair (it would be the only time in my life my hair would ever be straight so I thought I might as well get some mileage out of this situation) she set out to find the perfect combination of gray and straight hair. Note: there are limited selections in that genre – most gray wigs are short and layered. When she put the gray wig on me, all I could see was someone who looked like a very old and sick mouse! Seriously! I sat there motionless and silent. When the stylist asked me if I liked the wig I gave her a resounding no! “Thank goodness,” she said, and then she went right to work, coming out with several straight, blonde styles.
Never in my life had I thought of myself as a blonde. But when she put the blonde wig on, I smiled. It was as if a weight had been lifted from my spirit. I could see myself as healthy and vibrant…all the things this cancer was trying to steal from me. The blonde wig allowed me to see myself differently. Suddenly I was alive again. And I looked younger. Double bonus.
How we view ourselves has a powerful effect on how we live. Sometimes negative circumstances can leave us without a sense of hope. An overly developed sense of ourselves can have the opposite effect. All of us, whether we admit it or not, have struggled with our sense of identity. We’ve all had thoughts about what others might say about us. We’ve all had situations that threatened our sense of who we are. But that’s the world talking. As Christians, we know who and whose we are – we are a child of God. We’ve been adopted into God’s family. There’s no better identity than that…not even being blonde.
“But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.”